Jul 14 - 20, 2005 

Sonic Reducer

zZz Sound of zZz (Howler)

Norwegian hipsters zZz probably think they're a lot cooler than anyone that would ever buy their album. Even so, the band's latest LP is chalk full of first-rate fashionable dance tracks that would serve one well on a late night road trip. Just try falling asleep at the wheel with lead singer Bjorn Ottenheim vociferously barking at you. zZz combines soulful omnipresent organ and static drums with vocals reminiscent of a coked up Jim Morrison. It's probably not as good as Ottenheim and organist Dean Schinkel think it is, but it's still worth a listen.

Tsar Band Girls Money (Tvt)

Although it has less pop and more power than their self titled debut album, Tsar's metal tinged Band Girls Money can't hide from its radio-play-pandering roots. After two metal packed tracks, the band can only wait about six minutes before reverting back to infectious guitar riffs and choruses of uh-uh-uh-uh-oh's. Lead singer Jeff Whalen's totally in your face lyrics revolve around suburban annoyances such as mom and dad, ex-girlfriends and TiVo. The album is not without its polished metal charm, but the abundance of pop ballads and lack of continuity make it hard to really enjoy.

Jimmy Chamberlin Complex Life Begins Again (Sanctuary Records)

On his debut solo release, former Smashing Pumpkin's drummer Jimmy Chamberlin plays his little recently rehabbed heart out while the other members of the Complex mill around for 45 minutes. Chamberlin is really quite good at playin' the set, but his musical accompaniment, which consists of Rhodes organ and distorted guitar that sounds an awful lot like Rhodes organ, amounts to little more than ambient noise. I have to admit, however, I like listening to the album. If, on the other hand, the promise of incessant drum fills doesn't cook your bacon, you might wanna skip this one.

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